How To Find The Best Pair Of Climbing Gloves

How To Find The Best Pair Of Climbing Gloves

Rock climbing is one of the most enjoyable forms of exercise.

In addition to the great workout you get out of it, rock climbing is an exhilarating experience. Regardless of whether you are bouldering or climbing taller obstacles, it is important to find the best climbing equipment possible.

There are many types of equipment that may be needed during your activity, and it depends on the kind of rock climbing that you will be doing. When it comes to bouldering, most of the climbing is accomplished without the use of ropes or other forms of safety equipment due to the relatively short height of the obstacles which are scaled.

Man using climbing gloves.

This is the reason that bouldering is named like this, as the obstacles typically consist of larger boulders, which may be scaled safely without restraints. Some boulders can be up to 30 feet tall, however, so you are not entirely safe in the event of a fall, so you should take care to ensure that your equipment is up to par, as your safety may be dependent on it.

Besides safety equipment, there are other things you will need to ensure that your climbing expedition goes smoothly. This includes shoes, which are needed to make sure that you can get a proper foothold and climbing gloves which are integral in making sure that you can get the right amount of manual grip as well as protecting your hands.

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Why You Should Choose Your Climbing Gloves Carefully

There are several reasons why it is important to ensure that your climbing gloves are of the proper quality when you are making your purchase. Before we get to our reviews, we will take a look at a few of these reasons in depth so it is easier to understand why you should research your product before making your purchase.

Regardless of whether you are searching for rock climbing gloves indoor, or you are trying to find rock climbing gloves which are made for outdoor use, there are some aspects to consider. If you neglect to consider these aspects, you may find that you will suffer from buyer’s remorse after your purchase.

Different climbing gloves.

Primarily, it is important to get the best possible product because you do not want to have to run around and return your climbing gloves because they are defective when they arrive. Keep in mind that the price of a product is not always directly linked to its quality and even more expensive climbing gloves can end up being unreliable.

In such a case, you will have ended up paying too much money for gloves that will end up disintegrating after you go on one or two climbing expeditions. In fact, your gloves may fail on you while you are climbing, potentially endangering you or resulting in injuries to your hands.

Climbing is a sport in which you should try to mitigate danger as much as possible, and this extends to your equipment as much as it does to your technique. This is why you want to make sure that you get a pair of climbing gloves that will be sure not to fail on you when you need them most.

Another reason why you want to find the best climbing gloves is that you should look at them as an investment. When you buy a pair of climbing gloves that is sure to last you a long time, it is okay to spend a little bit more than you budget, as you will most likely not have to buy a new pair as early.

Benefits Of Wearing Climbing Gloves

There is a division in the climbing community about whether it is more advantageous to go bare-handed or to wear climbing gloves during your expeditions. While this is a mostly personal matter that can be considered up to the climber's choice, there are a few reasons we can give for both sides.

Bare Handed Climbing Advantages

There are many reasons why proponents of bare-handed climbing find that it is superior to climbing while wearing gloves. Primarily, it comes down to the feel of the rock in your hands when you are climbing. While wearing gloves, you will find that you will have a harder time getting a feel for the rock, thanks to the material getting between your fingers and the climbing surface.

Some say that bare-handed climbing tends to build better technique than when climbing with gloves, due to the unrestrained manner in which your hands can move. While this may be true for climbers who are using cheaper gloves, you will find that more expensive gloves are just as flexible as no gloves at all.

Climbing Glove Advantages

The benefits of wearing climbing gloves are manifold. For example, wearing climbing gloves is an excellent way to protect your hands while you are climbing as they will not get cut or scratched as easily. Climbing can be a particularly rigorous physical activity, so it helps to mitigate any possible damage to your body.

Hands after rock climbing.

Over time, you hands will eventually grow accustomed to the strains of climbing, but you would be better off avoiding that process in the first place by simply wearing climbing gloves.

In regards to climbing gloves permitting less manual dexterity, you will find that fingerless gloves are one of the best choices in case you have that concern. Fingerless gloves give you all the advantages regarding palm protection that other gloves give you while simultaneously ensuring that you have enough manual dexterity to climb as well as you can.

There are also certain types of gloves that can improve your grip on ledges and other outcroppings. There are several reasons why this may be so. One of the reasons is that the gloves make your fingers less susceptible to pain on relatively sharp edges, so you can hang on for longer without having to endure pain.

More rarely, there are climbing gloves that feature material on the palms and fingers that add to your grip. While some would argue that your fingers provide the most grip possible while climbing, but others believe that there are more suitable materials for climbing and maintaining hand holds.

Which Is Better?

When it comes time to decide between gloves and bare-handed climbing, it is largely up to the individual climber, but there is a strong argument for why gloves are the superior choice. Rock climbing gloves just provide much more versatility than bare-handed climbing since the choice between full-fingered and fingerless climbing gloves lets you acquire the best ones for your needs.

We would recommend climbing gloves for most climbers, especially beginners. When it comes to experienced climbers, they tend to know what works best for them, but it is best to opt for climbing gloves since they have more definite advantages than going bare handed.

Gloves: Fingerless Or Not

Another great debate in the rock climbing community is what type of gloves you should wear, should you choose to opt for gloves in the first place. There are two main choices, and we will go over both of them in the coming paragraphs: these choices are between fully fingered gloves and fingerless climbing gloves.

Fingerless Gloves

When it comes to fingerless gloves, they tend to be superior regarding manual dexterity.

Whereas full fingered gloves may restrict your movement, fingerless gloves leave your fingers free to grip the surface and secure a better handhold.

These gloves also make it easier to make precise adjustments to your equipment.

Fingerless climbing gloves.

For example, if you choose to use your gloves while you are rock climbing on higher cliffsides, you may have to adjust a carabiner or a rope with more deft movements than would be possible while using climbing gloves.

Beyond simply improving your ability to make handholds, fingerless gloves also give you a better feel for the rocks you are climbing. More experienced climbers will be able to improve their climbing because they can feel the crevices which are ideal for both foot- and handholds.

Fingerless gloves are often more flexible as well. Flexibility is necessary for climbing gloves because it has two purposes. Primarily, flexibility is important because it makes it easier to climb, allowing you to move your hands more freely and naturally. Flexible gloves feel less like gloves and more like bare-handed climbing.

The other advantage to having more flexible gloves is that they are simply more comfortable. While it may seem like comfort is not a very important consideration when compared to other aspects, you will find that it is one of the most important features in the end.

Fingerless gloves also tend to be more comfortable when compared to full fingered gloves due to the simple fact that they are much more breathable. This makes them the ideal choice if you are climbing in a hot environment, as your hands will not be drenched in sweat after a good deal of climbing.

After a long climbing expedition, superior comfort in your gloves will start to be the difference between completing your climb and giving up on it. The longer you climb, the sorer your hands and fingers will become, this is a fact. Having gloves that are uncomfortable will exacerbate this issue by magnitudes.

Full Fingered Climbing Gloves

There are also advantages to full fingered climbing gloves, and there are just as many as when it comes to fingerless gloves. The most prominent aspect is regarding protection. Full fingered climbing gloves will protect you far more than fingerless gloves due to the simple fact that they feature more coverage for your fingers.

Full Fingered Climbing Gloves

This makes full fingered climbing gloves better for climbers who tend to frequent more difficult climbing spots that have a more abrasive stone.

Some climbing locations will leave your fingers bruised and bleeding after a long climb thanks to the simple composition of the stone, which cannot be helped.

Beyond your climbing route, there are many other reasons why you would wish to opt for full fingered climbing gloves to protect your fingers.

They are also ideal for beginner climbers whose fingers are not quite accustomed to climbing, which tends to make the experience far more painful.

Full fingered climbing gloves can also have an advantage regarding grip at times, depending on the material that they are made of. Certain materials will help you get a better grip on the rocks you are climbing when compared to bare skin.

Unfortunately, there are also a few downsides to wearing full fingered gloves. For example, they will usually not be as flexible. If you are looking for gloves which are flexible, you will be better off going with fingerless gloves.

Best Choice Of Glove Type

When deciding about the kind of gloves that you would like to use while climbing, you should ask yourself what kind of characteristics you prefer while climbing. Both full fingered gloves and fingerless gloves are excellent choices for rock climbing, and it is nearly impossible to decide between which one is superior in the end.

Man rock climbing with gloves.

For fingerless gloves, you are better off using them for climbs on which the climbing surface is not too painful or abrasive, where you may require extra dexterity while climbing. Full-fingered gloves are a better choice if you are looking for gloves that will keep your fingers and hands protected for the duration of the climb.

Either choice is a great option that simply depends on what you need out of your gloves. Many climbers own a pair of both types of climbing gloves, depending on the kind of climb that they are about to take on.

Best Fingerless Gloves

Winner - Black Diamond Crag Climbing Gloves


  • Gloves feature synthetic leather construction
  • Reinforced thumb and index finger
  • Hook and loop closure
  • Breathable mesh construction
  • Sizes range from extra small to extra large
Black Diamond Crag Half-Finger Climbing Gloves


Our Rating


If you are looking for gloves which are both affordable and reliable, you will love these gloves from Black Diamond. Many customers tend to overlook the Crags thanks to their lower price point.

Besides the affordable pricing, many practical features make the crags an excellent choice of a glove. While they may not feature goatskin in their construction, the synthetic leather substitute is the best option regarding pricing without sacrificing too much flexibility and durability.

Beyond that, this pair of gloves is preferable thanks to their simplicity. While some customers may not be fans of this, we find that it simply leaves less to go wrong with the gloves. This has the double advantage of making the gloves more affordable as well as making them much less likely to break.

Runner Up - Black Diamond Stone Climbing Gloves


  • Gloves are made of goat leather
  • Kevlar reinforcement on knuckles and palms
  • Hook and loop type closure
  • Available in sizes from extra small to extra large
Black Diamond Stone Climbing Gloves


Our Rating


The Black Diamond Stone Gloves are like the bigger brother of the Crags. We rated the Crags more highly because we simply find them to be better value for your money, but this does not mean that the Stones are not worthwhile. You will find that most Black Diamond Climbing gloves are excellent products regardless of this.

Our favorite part of the stones was the flexibility of their goat leather construction. Goat leather is the ideal material for climbing gloves thanks to its combination of grip, resilience, and flexibility, which are the three reasons why we are huge fans of these gloves.

Resilience is critical in climbing gloves if you would like them to last any significant amount of time. Gloves which are durable are both safer and simply more convenient than throw-away pairs of gloves that you will use twice before having to replace them, and these gloves embody just that. We were quite impressed that the Stones survived our rigorous quality test course.

Best Full Fingered Gloves

Winner - Petzl CORDEX PLUS Climbing Gloves

  • Ergonomic design allows for more comfort
  • Goat leather construction
  • Palm padding helps add durability
  • Abrasion-resistant nylon panels for resilience
  • Double layered palms and fingers
Petzl CORDEX PLUS Midweight Glove


Our Rating


These Petzl climbing gloves are the best type of glove for climbing trips that will run through lesser gloves in an instant. These gloves are the best choice for the most abrasive climbing paths you can find thanks to their massive amount of durability. While their best characteristic is their durability, these gloves also manage to be versatile.

You may be wondering exactly what aspects led to these gloves being classified as our best full fingered gloves. In addition to their resilience, which is due to their abrasion resistant nylon coupled with the reinforced dual layer padding, these gloves are very comfortable.

While they may be slightly worse regarding feel thanks to their heavy reinforcement, they more than make-up for it in its longevity. Opt for these gloves if you are tired of your fingers getting cut up and bruised after every climb. We had no issues dealing with long, difficult climbs thanks to the combination of toughness and comfort.

Runner-Up - Outdoor Research Air Brake Climbing Gloves


  • 95% polyester construction ensures durability
  • Leather padded palm adds resilience
  • Perforations make these gloves breathable
  • Gloves are quick drying for difficult conditions
  • Gel padded palms make gloves more comfortable
Outdoor Research Air Brake Gloves

Our Rating


These gloves are another pair that is superior to the competition regarding durability. While many people would consider polyester to be a sub-optimal material out of which to construct climbing gloves, this model tends to be superior to your typical polyester gloves.

Unlike leather climbing gloves, these gloves are much better when you are climbing in difficult conditions thanks to their wicking and quick drying capabilities. This makes it far easier to climb when an unexpected bout of rain befalls you. These gloves contribute to making a potentially dangerous situation far more manageable thanks to their water resistance.

Unlike most gloves which are meant to be highly durable, these also manage to be very comfortable thanks to their gel-padded palms. While gel padding tends to be a little less reliable than other types of padding, you will find that it is magnitudes more comfortable thanks to its dynamic adjustability that you won’t find in other types of padding.

Alternative - Black Diamond Dirt Bag Climbing Gloves


  • Gloves feature goatskin construction
  • Gloves are water resistant
  • 100g fleece lining keeps gloves warm
Black Diamond Dirt Bag Climbing Gloves


Our Rating


If you are looking for indoor rock climbing gloves which can be used outdoors as well, these are a great option. It's hard to find gloves for rock climbing that can also be used as wall climbing gloves thanks to the many differences between these two disciplines.

These gloves feature closed construction that will keep your fingers unhurt for the duration of more difficult outdoor climbs as well as water resistant construction in case of rain. When it comes to aspects that are useful for use indoors, you will find that the fleece lining helps keep your fingers warm in venues which are air conditioned heavily.

The goatskin construction also helps when it comes to gripping indoor climbing surfaces which are often made of plastic. An aspect which makes these gloves ideal for use regardless of venue is their high degree of durability.

Thanks to the water-resistant goatskin, these gloves tend to last far longer than many other gloves in their price range. While they may be slightly more expensive than some other options, you will get quite a bit of use out of these gloves for climbing.


We hope that this guide has helped you find climbing gloves which are the best choice for your needs. Depending on your type of climbing, indoor or outdoor, we have compiled a list of some of the best options at your disposal. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to ask us in the comments section below.

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